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one Today we have the honor of sharing with you our new friends Corrie and Renie of Middlebar. We invited them to the studio for an afternoon of appetizers and drinks, and talked to them about their dedication to quality and craft. We partnered with Absolut for this post, who also cares deeply about their craft and actually sources all their ingredients within 75 miles of their distillery in Sweden. To give you some background, Middlebar is a couture cocktail catering service. They are proud to have launched our successful brand of boutique bar products in Farmers Markets, Gourmet Markets, Hotels, Restaurants, and Bars. And are thrilled to have opened MiddleBar on Market St in Inglewood, which is now home to Pop Ups, Jazz Brunch and Special Events. middle_Bar These ladies are so awesome and hilarious, and love Fleetwood Mac as much as we do. That makes us love them even more. Take a peek at the interview with them below:

These days you hear so much about “farm to table” dining, but you don’t usually hear about “farm fresh cocktailing”. Is this built on the same concept? Why is this important to you or important in general?

Yes! Farm Fresh Cocktailing is absolutely built on the same principles as Farm to Fork. We believe there is value in knowing where your food comes from, who worked to prepare it, the quality of those goods, etc. Using farmers markets as inspiration, we’d shop and design simple and elegant menus. Then we’d craft a perfect drink to go with it, using the same inspiration from the farmers market. It makes sense the rosemary, honey and peaches for your cocktail come from the same farmers who harvested the tomatoes, carrots and greens for your dinner plate.

I see that you handcraft all of your goods (amazing!). Do you think this is important to ensure that the overall quality you want is there? Tell us a little bit about your process.

We do make everything in house. Our pickles are distinct and made for cocktailing. Not just as a garnish, but as a legitimate ingredient. For example, the brine in our House Dills makes an insanely good cocktail we call the Dirty Herb Martini. Our Pickled Celery pairs well with various whiskys, for what Susan Fenniger termed an Elite Pickleback. We paired up with Auchentoshan and blew people away at Speedrack. Our Bourbon Poached Cherries are good on just about anything from ice cream to nut butter to roasted fennel to cocktails.

But it’s the cherry “brine” that serves as the secret ingredient for the best Manhattan of your life.

We want everything in our line to be really multifunctional, easy and fun to use in cooking, cocktailing and baking. Our Aztec Gold (3 Chili Lime Syrup), for example is delicious with everything from morning coffee to margaritas—deglaze Brussels sprouts, and marinate pork shoulder, also great with chicken and waffles ;)

Do you source all of your fresh ingredients from local farmers markets? Is that where you draw a lot of your inspiration? Why are farmers markets important to you and your company?

Farmers Markets bring out the best in people and communities. Middlebar simply would not be, but for the Markets. We draw almost all of our inspiration from them. That said, we do not strictly source everything from local growers. We do source the vast majority of our joy and inspiration from the people at the Markets; the farmers, the artisans, the shoppers, all local peeps who come to feel inspired if not to shop. We do a lot of trading with our fellow vendors. We partnered with Ponderosa Meat Co, who have the MOST OUTSTANDING BACON for “Bacon & Bloodies” specials, and we featured our neighbor Island Farms who have the market’s BEST, AND MOST UNIQUE STONE FRUIT for Heirloom Orchards Cocktails at several of our Jazz Brunches. Ever since “we” won the KCRW Pie Contest with Pi Bake Shop for their Vegan Bourbon Cherry peach Pie, we love collaborating with our neighbors.

We used Absolut’s recipe for an Apple Crisp Mule (recipe below!), and asked the Middlebar ladies to put their twist on this recipe. They ended up bruleeing apple slices that were soaked in their ginger cinnamon syrup as a garnish, used that some ginger cinnamon syrup to make a ginger beer with sparkling water, and then adding a bit of their Aztec gold syrup, and garnishing with their bourbon soaked cherries (which are OMG AMAZING), and a sprig of rosemary. We LOVED them!

two three middle_1 middlebar_2 We paired the Absolut Apple Crip Mule with three perfect fall appetizer recipes. White Cheddar Gougeres with Caramelized Onions, Apples and Candied Pecans, a Smoked Salmon Crostini with an Apple-Fennel Slaw, and a Spiced Sour Cream Cake with a Vanilla Maple Buttercream. We hope you guys will enjoy them all and consider the Absolut Apple Crisp Mule as your go to fall cocktail because we are hooked! mule food

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Absolut Apple Crisp Mule

1.5 parts Absolut Apple
.5 parts Absolut Vanilla
Juice from half a Lime
Top with Ginger Beer

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White Cheddar Gougeres with Caramelized Onions, Apples and Candied Pecans
Makes about 30

Ingredients:

smoked gouda gougeres:
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 eggs
3 ounces white cheddar, grated

caramelized onion + apple topping:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 pink lady apple, cored and finely diced
1 teaspoon minced thyme
salt and pepper to taste

candied pecans:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons water
1 cup shelled pecan halves

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2. For gougeres: Pour water into medium pot and add butter and salt and bring to a boil.
3. Once mixture has come to a boil, add flour and quickly stir with a wooden spoon, until dough forms. Continue to stir over medium heat, for about 3 minutes.
4. Place dough into a stand mixer fixed with a paddle attachment and run on medium speed, allowing steam to escape.
5. Once most of the steam has disappeared add the egg, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
6. Fold pepper and cheese into the pate a choux until fully incorporated.
7. Scoop mixture into a piping bag and pipe half dollar sized balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
8. Bake gougeres for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside and cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
9. For caramelized onion + apple topping: Melt butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and caramelized for 20 to 25 minutes. Add apples and continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
10. For candied pecans: Pour brown sugar, salt and cinnamon into a skillet. Over medium heat. Add water and stir. Allow mixture to melt and boil, about 5 minutes (until mixture is a rich amber color. Add pecans and toss together until pecans are completely coated. Pour pecans onto a parchment lined baking sheet, in a single layer, and allow them to cool completely. Break apart and chop.
11. To assemble: Lightly press down on the top of each gougere to create a groove. Top with a small spoonful of the onion + apple mixture and finish with a sprinkle of candied pecans. Serve.

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Smoked Salmon Crostini with an Apple-Fennel Slaw
Makes 24

Ingredients:
1 sourdough baguette, thinly sliced on a bias (1/4” thick)
3 tablespoons olive oil

apple-fennel slaw:
1 granny smith apple, cored and julienne
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/8 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

lemon pepper mascarpone spread:
8 ounces mascarpone, softened
zest of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces cold smoked salmon, thinly sliced

garnishes:
capers
1 boiled egg, grated

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2. Brush oil onto each side of crostini and lightly season with salt and pepper. Line crostini up onto a baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart and bake for about 7 minutes. Flip each crostini and continue to bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside an allow crostini to cool.
3. Place all the slaw ingredients into a mixing bowl and toss together until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate and allow mixture to merry, about 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Place all ingredients for the mascarpone spread into a mixing bowl and beat together until completely combined.
5. To assemble: Pour spread into a serving bowl and place with crostini. Spread salmon onto another platter and top with slaw. Grate the hard boiled egg over the slaw and sprinkle capers over top. Set Platters out for people to serve themselves and build their own smoked salmon crostini.

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Spiced Sour Cream Cakes with a Vanilla Maple Buttercream
Makes 8 mini loaf cakes

Ingredients:
spiced sour cream cake:
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup superfine sugar (granulated is fine)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

vanilla-maple buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick), unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup 100% pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

garnish:
candied ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2. For cake: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, all spice, ground clove, and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. In another mixing bowl or using a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl once all eggs have been added.
5. Stir in sour cream and vanilla extract and mix until just combined.
6. Add the flour mixture into the sour cream mixture and mix together until the batter just comes together and there are no dry spots left.
7. Pour batter into a mini loaf pan (with 8 inserts) or a 9”x13” baking dish.
8. Bake cake for 24 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.
9. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pans, about 1 hour.
10. For buttercream: Place butter into a stand mixer and beat until smooth. Add sugar, 1/2 cup of time, continuing to beat until all of the sugar has been added. Scrape down sides of the bowl and continue to beat together. Add vanilla, maple syrup and salt and continue to beat until mixture is light and fluffy.
11. To assemble: Pipe frosting over each cake (if using mini loaf molds), finish with a sprinkle of candied ginger and serve.

 /   /   /  12 Comments
  1. Tieghan Not Specified Not Specified

    This is the perfect post for the upcoming holiday season. LOVING the drinks and the cheesy apps! :)

  2. Karen @ Seasonal Cravings Not Specified Not Specified

    Looks like a yummy drink to bring to my neighborhood Halloween party tonight. Hmm, will need to make a pitcher! Thanks for the idea.

  3. Nancie (Painted Palate) Not Specified Not Specified

    Just tried to order Middlebar’s Bourbon Poached Cherries from the link provided above and wind up on Good Eggs Bay Area’s webpage… Anyone know how (or if) we can order any of the products from Middlebar mentioned above? I know exactly where to get my Absolut. :D

  4. Amanda Not Specified Not Specified

    I have fallen in love with Moscow Mules…can not wait to add this to my holiday cocktail list for Thanksgiving!

  5. Kim Pawell Not Specified Not Specified

    My mouth is watering! I love the Apple Moscow Mule for Thanksgiving!

  6. Phyllis Jean Greene Not Specified Not Specified

    Can’t wait to try your recipe for Spiced Sour Cream Cakes. Sounds. So good and I enjoyed your story. .You all must be amazing people. ..

  7. Linda Ramsey Not Specified Not Specified

    I want to try your Cocktail but can you break it down on measurements would that be 1 1/2 oz an 1/2 oz how many oz of beer

  8. Corky Patton Not Specified Not Specified

    Love the ‘mule’ drinks!

  9. Tina Not Specified Not Specified

    An absolute satisfactory blog.. cheers..

  10. Kev Rob Not Specified Not Specified

    Nice Cocktail!!! Friends, just have a party & enjoy mules…. Thanks for sharing dear!!!

  11. Alyse Not Specified Not Specified

    These look amazing! Just a heads up, the recipe says smoked gouda instead of cheddar in the title.

  12. Danica Not Specified Not Specified

    Wow! This cake was yummy and quite a surprise. It turned out moist and I loved the mix of the sweet and the sour.

    I included 1 tsp of this chai spice blend I Just ordered off of etsy to the batter and it seriously put it over the top!
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/263470098/medicinal-masala-chai-blend

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, it is definitely now a staple in my home!

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